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The St. Mirren FC 2022/23 thread


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3 hours ago, Bobby Boulders said:

I think we need to get away from the mode of thinking that gambling has got us into the position of having posted a loss over a couple of covid hit seasons. 

Underinvestment in our squad, at a time when top flight income is perhaps more important than ever, is an even bigger gamble - no?

Taking a calculated punt on the squad last season when we had £2.7m in the bank was fair enough, but if as expected we’re posting a loss of £1.7m for that period then budgeting for 7th again this season was madness, in my opinion.

We might well get away with it if we can cash in on Baccus in January but it’s not a sustainable way to run a football club.

It’s great having ambition and it’s great having a decent squad but all of that has to be delivered at a cost we can afford.

That’s boring but history has plenty examples of bigger clubs than us that gambled and lost. 

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37 minutes ago, Div said:

Taking a calculated punt on the squad last season when we had £2.7m in the bank was fair enough, but if as expected we’re posting a loss of £1.7m for that period then budgeting for 7th again this season was madness, in my opinion.

We might well get away with it if we can cash in on Baccus in January but it’s not a sustainable way to run a football club.

It’s great having ambition and it’s great having a decent squad but all of that has to be delivered at a cost we can afford.

That’s boring but history has plenty examples of bigger clubs than us that gambled and lost. 

Absolutely, I’m with you on living within our means. Fan ownership, in part, was an acceptance that there’s no big pot of money out there to bail us out and I’m entirely happy with that. 

 

I guess I just don’t follow the reasoning that this is a big gamble. Correct me if I’m wrong (anyone, please) but this £1.7m loss that is consistently referred to - it’s the same rough value as our covid loan. That loan was included in the last available accounts, but was applied for on the basis that it was covering that same equivalent value in covid-caused costs and losses. So - it makes sense that it would be a spent by now on those same declared costs. 

 

What’s the secret piece here that I’m missing that shows we’ve thrown more than a million quid away on top of that by gambling on expensive players and massively overreaching?

 

In the absence of any actual evidence to the contrary, is it not possible that people are hearing the chairman say that we’ve been running at a loss during difficult circumstances and letting the panic run a bit far?

 

We expected a couple of players to move on in the summer and they didn’t, so we’re running a couple of first teamers heavy. Even with an extremely generous estimate, that’s no more than a few hundred thousand quid over the course of a full season. 
 

Please, if there’s actually evidence anywhere of the board having massively overspent and gambled with our club’s future, I’d love to hear it. 

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8 hours ago, Bobby Boulders said:

Absolutely, I’m with you on living within our means. Fan ownership, in part, was an acceptance that there’s no big pot of money out there to bail us out and I’m entirely happy with that. 

 

I guess I just don’t follow the reasoning that this is a big gamble. Correct me if I’m wrong (anyone, please) but this £1.7m loss that is consistently referred to - it’s the same rough value as our covid loan. That loan was included in the last available accounts, but was applied for on the basis that it was covering that same equivalent value in covid-caused costs and losses. So - it makes sense that it would be a spent by now on those same declared costs. 

 

What’s the secret piece here that I’m missing that shows we’ve thrown more than a million quid away on top of that by gambling on expensive players and massively overreaching?

 

In the absence of any actual evidence to the contrary, is it not possible that people are hearing the chairman say that we’ve been running at a loss during difficult circumstances and letting the panic run a bit far?

 

We expected a couple of players to move on in the summer and they didn’t, so we’re running a couple of first teamers heavy. Even with an extremely generous estimate, that’s no more than a few hundred thousand quid over the course of a full season. 
 

Please, if there’s actually evidence anywhere of the board having massively overspent and gambled with our club’s future, I’d love to hear it. 

Excellent post. Pretty much exactly where my head is with all this stuff.

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8 hours ago, Bobby Boulders said:

Absolutely, I’m with you on living within our means. Fan ownership, in part, was an acceptance that there’s no big pot of money out there to bail us out and I’m entirely happy with that. 

 

I guess I just don’t follow the reasoning that this is a big gamble. Correct me if I’m wrong (anyone, please) but this £1.7m loss that is consistently referred to - it’s the same rough value as our covid loan. That loan was included in the last available accounts, but was applied for on the basis that it was covering that same equivalent value in covid-caused costs and losses. So - it makes sense that it would be a spent by now on those same declared costs. 

 

What’s the secret piece here that I’m missing that shows we’ve thrown more than a million quid away on top of that by gambling on expensive players and massively overreaching?

 

In the absence of any actual evidence to the contrary, is it not possible that people are hearing the chairman say that we’ve been running at a loss during difficult circumstances and letting the panic run a bit far?

 

We expected a couple of players to move on in the summer and they didn’t, so we’re running a couple of first teamers heavy. Even with an extremely generous estimate, that’s no more than a few hundred thousand quid over the course of a full season. 
 

Please, if there’s actually evidence anywhere of the board having massively overspent and gambled with our club’s future, I’d love to hear it. 

I think the chairman’s statement published last week, which was very good by the way, was preparing the ground for the accounts landing which should really be any time now.

Given what’s been publically stated I think we can safely assume that we started this financial year with around a million in the bank.

It’s also been publically stated that we’ve budgeted to finish 7th this season which in real terms means a playing budget that is £500K over the usual baseline the club has always used, which is budgeting  against an 11th placed finish (the worst case scenario outside relegation).

Until the accounts are actually published we are all still speculating but the above all seems pretty fair assumptions given what has been said in public.

We may well finish 7th, we might even finish higher than that, but it’s a gamble (again) and this time around l can’t agree it was sensible management of the clubs rapidly dwindling finances.

Some people assume budgeting against 11th is negative and lacking ambition but aiming higher and failing (which can easily happen in this league) leaves a gap and that gap needs bridged.

Given we have no sugar daddy there to plug those gaps when it goes wrong we need to rely on either positive player trading or using bank reserves to cover it.

With close to £2.7m in the bank that’s cool, have a punt by all means, but with a million left and having lost £1.7m is it really sensible to risk half of the available reserves again this season?

Plenty seem to think so.

I’m maybe over cautious, but it makes me a bit uneasy.

All still speculation until the accounts are released though. 

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13 minutes ago, GAD said:

See when we are "sensibly" budgeting for eleventh are you expecting us to then keep a lump sum back to change the manager each season for finishing 11th, something that would be demanded?

And the cost of increased laundry bills due to having a relegation play-off every year.

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14 minutes ago, Stu said:

And the cost of increased laundry bills due to having a relegation play-off every year.

Suppose we can use the playoff money to pay off the manager. Much more sensible than signing good players we might be able to sell and trying to finish higher than 11th.

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1 hour ago, GAD said:

See when we are "sensibly" budgeting for eleventh are you expecting us to then keep a lump sum back to change the manager each season for finishing 11th, something that would be demanded?

I'm saying that spending every single penny we have in the bank is not a sensible or sustainable business strategy, particularly for a club that cannot access any borrowing (over and above once in a lifetime pandemic recovery grants!).

Investing in the squad is fantastic when we have the funds to do so either because we've traded on a player at high value or we've out performed in the previous season through a better than expected finish in the league or from good cup runs or whatever.

We got through the COVID season largely unscathed financially because of the two cup runs. We've then got the COVID grant sitting there and addressed whatever it was that needed addressing at Ralston (I'm still really unsure where all that money went to be honest) and we've decided to take a wee punt on the squad.

Personally I'm cool with that, we had loads in the bank at that time.

Having then spunked £1.7m over budget in that 12 month period though I'd have thought it more sensible to put the brakes on a bit. Maybe budget against 9th or 10th?

7th seems a bit of a gamble when you're already burning through money at a heavy rate.

Looks like we will get away with it thanks to Baccus but I do think this general shrugging of the shoulders at us posting massive losses is a bit perplexing.

On that note, given that SMiSA already paid the majority of the cost for the replacement artificial surface at Ralston, and we're still operating from Portakabins out there, does anyone know exactly what it was we spent so much on at the training ground?

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3 minutes ago, Div said:

I'm saying that spending every single penny we have in the bank is not a sensible or sustainable business strategy, particularly for a club that cannot access any borrowing (over and above once in a lifetime pandemic recovery grants!).

Investing in the squad is fantastic when we have the funds to do so either because we've traded on a player at high value or we've out performed in the previous season through a better than expected finish in the league or from good cup runs or whatever.

We got through the COVID season largely unscathed financially because of the two cup runs. We've then got the COVID grant sitting there and addressed whatever it was that needed addressing at Ralston (I'm still really unsure where all that money went to be honest) and we've decided to take a wee punt on the squad.

Personally I'm cool with that, we had loads in the bank at that time.

Having then spunked £1.7m over budget in that 12 month period though I'd have thought it more sensible to put the brakes on a bit. Maybe budget against 9th or 10th?

7th seems a bit of a gamble when you're already burning through money at a heavy rate.

Looks like we will get away with it thanks to Baccus but I do think this general shrugging of the shoulders at us posting massive losses is a bit perplexing.

On that note, given that SMiSA already paid the majority of the cost for the replacement artificial surface at Ralston, and we're still operating from Portakabins out there, does anyone know exactly what it was we spent so much on at the training ground?

You’ve already said that until we see the accounts, we don’t know the scale of loss that we’re discussing. The leap from that to “shrugging of the shoulders at us posting massive losses” is significant. 

 

At the recent SMISA meeting, the chairman confirmed that there was more than a million quid of a balance still sitting in the club accounts. He said that the concept of needing to ask SMISA for funds wasn’t even a conversation that needed to be had in current circumstances. 
 

Is it just me or are we confusing budget, income v expenditure and bank balance here?

 

It’s possible for us to run at a loss while not getting anywhere near having nothing left in the bank, which would seem to be the case based on what John Needham explicitly said at the SMISA meeting. When phrases like break even have been mentioned, it has been in budgetary terms - not getting back to solvency. 
 

Again, if there is any evidence or confirmed numbers out there that fuel this widely held belief about us having overspent millions of pounds over and above a purpose-given loan to the point where we’re going to have an empty bank account before the end of the season - I’d love to see it. 

Any of the budgetary experts or  accountants who might be reading this, please feel welcome to tell me what I’ve missed or misunderstood. Genuinely. I’m here to be educated. 
 

 

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8 minutes ago, Div said:

Looks like we will get away with it thanks to Baccus

Did we 'get away with it' though, or was this precisely the strategy? I mean, the events in Qatar have meant the strategy has performed beyond expectations, and probably a lot sooner than was expected: I can't remember the last time we had such a desired asset on such  a long contract.

But, that was the stated strategy and in my opinion you have to applaud the club for going for it. It doesn't always pay off - Brophy, for example - but I feel in Baccus, Strain and Ayunga we have very sale-able players that we brought in for buttons. Robinson was talking about making a profit on Ayunga as long ago as July.

You're not wrong that it carries an element of risk. Good players can get injured or dip out of form, or fall out with a manager and end up seeing their contract out - Ethan (not blaming him, btw) - and we get nothing for them.

I'm happy that we seem to have taken a considered approach to getting the club to the next level. We've not splurged on transfer fees or anything: we seem to have done all this in the most sensibly ambitious way a club of our stature can.

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So there's last years accounts to come but...

We are competing the best we have in years and we could finish anywhere from about 10th to 3rd. 

We may have a couple of big earners we want off the books but I'm hoping whatever happens in the January window improves us enough to help us finish nearer the top end. (Europe would bring us big money, unlikely but possible)

Better league finishing brings in more dosh, as does our currently bigger than budgetted crowds. 

Transfers, cup run etc are unknowns but I'm happier rather than scared with how things are right now.

Personally hope Bachus stays till the summer (he will be an over £10 million player some day I believe) but we've already got at least 1 midfielder lined up to come in.

Lasley, manager etc seem to me to be doing us proud. There are always risks but I doubt we should be panicking at all other than if the Smisa board are subverting and damaging things.

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34 minutes ago, Div said:

I'm saying that spending every single penny we have in the bank is not a sensible or sustainable business strategy, particularly for a club that cannot access any borrowing (over and above once in a lifetime pandemic recovery grants!).

Investing in the squad is fantastic when we have the funds to do so either because we've traded on a player at high value or we've out performed in the previous season through a better than expected finish in the league or from good cup runs or whatever.

We got through the COVID season largely unscathed financially because of the two cup runs. We've then got the COVID grant sitting there and addressed whatever it was that needed addressing at Ralston (I'm still really unsure where all that money went to be honest) and we've decided to take a wee punt on the squad.

Personally I'm cool with that, we had loads in the bank at that time.

Having then spunked £1.7m over budget in that 12 month period though I'd have thought it more sensible to put the brakes on a bit. Maybe budget against 9th or 10th?

7th seems a bit of a gamble when you're already burning through money at a heavy rate.

Looks like we will get away with it thanks to Baccus but I do think this general shrugging of the shoulders at us posting massive losses is a bit perplexing.

On that note, given that SMiSA already paid the majority of the cost for the replacement artificial surface at Ralston, and we're still operating from Portakabins out there, does anyone know exactly what it was we spent so much on at the training ground?

But have we done that? Are you saying there is no money in the bank now? Did they not say at the SMISA meeting there was £1m in the bank?

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1 minute ago, GAD said:

But have we done that? Are you saying there is no money in the bank now? Did they not say at the SMISA meeting there was £1m in the bank?

I'd prefer us to retain some money in the bank. If we were down to a million in May 2022 (that has been publically stated a couple of times) from 2.7 million in May 2021 (as per the May 2021 accounts) then that should be of concern to every St.Mirren supporter. Season 21-22 was not massively impacted by COVID. From memory we lost gate receipts from 2 home games. It was the 20-21 season that was the killer season and we got through that relatively unscathed, losing just £45K which was incredible. That was partly due to the Kyle Magennis transfer fee, the run to two cup semi finals, and the better than projected league finish.

All of that is public record here;

https://www.blackandwhitearmy.com/downloads/accounts-may2021.pdf

So to have gone from £2.7m in May 21 to £1m in May 22 means we spent £1.7m over and above what we brought in that season.

The accounts will confirm that for sure.

Does nobody else care where that money went?

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48 minutes ago, Coventry Saint said:

Did we 'get away with it' though, or was this precisely the strategy? I mean, the events in Qatar have meant the strategy has performed beyond expectations, and probably a lot sooner than was expected: I can't remember the last time we had such a desired asset on such  a long contract.

But, that was the stated strategy and in my opinion you have to applaud the club for going for it. It doesn't always pay off - Brophy, for example - but I feel in Baccus, Strain and Ayunga we have very sale-able players that we brought in for buttons. Robinson was talking about making a profit on Ayunga as long ago as July.

You're not wrong that it carries an element of risk. Good players can get injured or dip out of form, or fall out with a manager and end up seeing their contract out - Ethan (not blaming him, btw) - and we get nothing for them.

I'm happy that we seem to have taken a considered approach to getting the club to the next level. We've not splurged on transfer fees or anything: we seem to have done all this in the most sensibly ambitious way a club of our stature can.

Yeah of course it's brilliant to see us unearthing diamonds and hopefully selling them on at a healthy profit. We've produced some tremendous players over the past decade and I think it's fair to say we've not always got the transfer fees for them that we should have.

If we can get a seven figure fee for Baccus 6 months after signing him (can't recall if it was a free or a small fee) it will be a spectacular return.

Foyle and Robinson have shown they can work the market very well and of course we need to continue to invest in the squad and try and find other players who can improve our team and also give us the potential for a healthy resale.

That all needs to be done within an overall framework of it being sustainable though.

Maybe I'm just a knicker wetter but big losses give me the fear.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Div said:

I'd prefer us to retain some money in the bank. If we were down to a million in May 2022 (that has been publically stated a couple of times) from 2.7 million in May 2021 (as per the May 2021 accounts) then that should be of concern to every St.Mirren supporter. Season 21-22 was not massively impacted by COVID. From memory we lost gate receipts from 2 home games. It was the 20-21 season that was the killer season and we got through that relatively unscathed, losing just £45K which was incredible. That was partly due to the Kyle Magennis transfer fee, the run to two cup semi finals, and the better than projected league finish.

All of that is public record here;

https://www.blackandwhitearmy.com/downloads/accounts-may2021.pdf

So to have gone from £2.7m in May 21 to £1m in May 22 means we spent £1.7m over and above what we brought in that season.

The accounts will confirm that for sure.

Does nobody else care where that money went?

Yeah, and I'm guessing we'll find out where it went in due course.

It's not particularly helpful to claim it was 'spunked' or 'blown through' though without knowing the circumstances under which the money was spent and actually plays into the hands of the few kicking about who choose to believe that the club is in dire financial peril and continuing to spend frivolously regardless.

If over a million was spent in a year, it's best to wait and see where and how it was spent. If it was a massive overspend on Ralston driving those numbers way up, then questions should be asked there.

I also don't get your £500k in real terms figure for budgeting between 11th and 7th? The prize money for finishing 7th is £250k more than finishing 11th. So do you mean the budget between 7th and 11th over two seasons is £500k of a difference? Even then, last season's £250k gamble ended with us in 9th rather than 7th, so in real terms, that's a £120k shortfall in budget though I understand this is a massive simplification but again, it's paints less than a tenth of the picture as to where these funds have been spent if the numbers are correct.

I understand your cautious approach but I certainly don't understand your assertion that some supporters are just shrugging their shoulders. There's plenty of questions to be asked, it just appears that some of the answers might be a wee bit more nuanced than a couple of the Kibble Bad folk might like to hear.

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It puzzles me how we ever managed to build up a bank balance £2.7m in the first place.

Obviously a drop of £1.7m in the bank balance does not automatically equate to a trading loss of £1.7m. The timing of payments / receipts will affect the movement in the balance, as would any spend on capital items. Conversely, depreciation costs incurred have no impact on your bank balance. Until the annual accounts are issued we can only speculate. 

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1 hour ago, djchapsticks said:

Yeah, and I'm guessing we'll find out where it went in due course.

It's not particularly helpful to claim it was 'spunked' or 'blown through' though without knowing the circumstances under which the money was spent and actually plays into the hands of the few kicking about who choose to believe that the club is in dire financial peril and continuing to spend frivolously regardless.

If over a million was spent in a year, it's best to wait and see where and how it was spent. If it was a massive overspend on Ralston driving those numbers way up, then questions should be asked there.

I also don't get your £500k in real terms figure for budgeting between 11th and 7th? The prize money for finishing 7th is £250k more than finishing 11th. So do you mean the budget between 7th and 11th over two seasons is £500k of a difference? Even then, last season's £250k gamble ended with us in 9th rather than 7th, so in real terms, that's a £120k shortfall in budget though I understand this is a massive simplification but again, it's paints less than a tenth of the picture as to where these funds have been spent if the numbers are correct.

I understand your cautious approach but I certainly don't understand your assertion that some supporters are just shrugging their shoulders. There's plenty of questions to be asked, it just appears that some of the answers might be a wee bit more nuanced than a couple of the Kibble Bad folk might like to hear.

Prize money for finishing 7th this season is £1.8m, versus £1.3m for finishing 11th.

Assume you're looking at old deal figures?

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11 minutes ago, Div said:

Prize money for finishing 7th this season is £1.8m, versus £1.3m for finishing 11th.

Assume you're looking at old deal figures?

Not having a dig at you for your caution but there surely is an argument for us spending more to claim the extra £500k and take it away from other clubs.

We aim low, we are giving other teams a head start each year by reducing the quality in our squad... while they are more likely to claim higher prize money too setting us back the next season.

Ok a better squad doesn't guarentee a better outcome but the chances are it will help considerably.

I think we are seeing that this season... I doubt we'll make a significant loss this season either. Its more likely we'll be in the black and still have a decent reserve.

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24 minutes ago, medals said:

Not having a dig at you for your caution but there surely is an argument for us spending more to claim the extra £500k and take it away from other clubs.

We aim low, we are giving other teams a head start each year by reducing the quality in our squad... while they are more likely to claim higher prize money too setting us back the next season.

Ok a better squad doesn't guarentee a better outcome but the chances are it will help considerably.

I think we are seeing that this season... I doubt we'll make a significant loss this season either. Its more likely we'll be in the black and still have a decent reserve.

Absolutely, speculate to accumulate, IF we can afford it. I think all we are disagreeing on here is the degree of risk being taken.

If we have 1 million in the bank and we are punting an extra half million at the playing squad is that reckless or is it worth a punt?

There's lots of things that can knock a budget off course, particularly in football, but I absolutely accept it works both ways.

The accounts will show the detail we are after. I'm still intrigued to find out how much we spent at Ralston and on what.

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